Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane, has called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to address the concerns of the tillage sector regarding the extension of the shallow cultivation period. This request comes as a result of poor weather conditions that have impacted the industry. The Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) submitted a formal request to the minister on Wednesday, July 26th, asking for an extension to the period for shallow cultivation or sowing a crop after combine harvesting. The FCI highlighted the challenging weather conditions, including heavy rainfall, which have affected harvesting, straw management, and stubble cultivation. The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has also sent a similar request to the minister.
Under the Nitrates Directive, tillage farmers are obligated to establish green cover as soon as possible after harvest to prevent water pollution caused by nitrates. Shallow cultivation or sowing of a crop/catch crop must occur within 10 days of straw baling or, in the case of chopped straw, within 10 days of harvest. However, under all circumstances, shallow cultivation or sowing of a crop/catch crop must occur within 14 days of harvesting.
Deputy Kerrane acknowledged the significant challenges faced by tillage farmers and contractors in recent weeks due to adverse weather conditions. Representatives from the sector, including FCI and the Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG), have highlighted the difficult circumstances experienced by farmers and contractors as a result of heavy rainfall, which has hindered their ability to meet shallow cultivation and crop sowing deadlines. Deputy Kerrane expressed concern that these deadlines would be missed due to the weather conditions and emphasized the need for an extension. July has been the wettest on record, and it is crucial for the minister to recognize this in order to alleviate further pressure on farmers and contractors. Deputy Kerrane urged Minister McConalogue to engage with contracting and tillage representatives promptly to find a solution.
It is essential for Minister McConalogue to address the concerns raised by the tillage sector regarding the extension of the shallow cultivation period. The adverse weather conditions have significantly impacted the industry, making it challenging for farmers and contractors to meet the necessary deadlines. By engaging with the relevant representatives, the minister can work towards finding a solution that alleviates the pressure on those in the tillage sector. It is crucial to recognize the exceptional circumstances caused by the heavy rainfall in July and provide the necessary support to ensure the success of the industry.